located in Georgetown, TX
Oral cancer is usually highly treatable when diagnosed early. Unfortunately, it’s often not detected until it’s advanced, and the incidence of oral cancer is growing in the United States. The providers at RR Dentistry in Georgetown, Texas, offer highly precise oral cancer screening that combines medical expertise with advanced technology to deliver the fastest and most accurate screening results possible. Even better, it’s part of your routine dental exam, and it doesn’t involve dyes or discomfort. Schedule an evaluation today by calling the office or booking an appointment online.
Oral Cancer Screening Q & A
What is oral cancer?
Like other types of cancer, oral cancer occurs when mutations in cellular DNA cause specific cells to multiply and divide rapidly without dying as they usually would. This abnormal tissue growth eventually develops into a tumor that can spread to other parts of the body.
Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they evolve in the squamous cells that line your inner mouth and gums. These abnormal growths can appear as a white or reddish patch, tender lump, irritated area, patch of thickened tissue, or open sore that doesn’t heal.
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the oral cavity or mouth, including on the:
- Roof or floor of the mouth under the tongue
- Inner or outer lips
- Inner cheeks
It’s important to note that oral cancer might not be painful initially. It frequently develops in an area that’s not easily visible, such as at the base of the tongue.
Who is at risk for oral cancer?
Anyone can develop oral cancer, but certain factors do increase your risk. These include:
- Age, more common in those over 40
- Gender, much more prevalent in men than women
- Tobacco use, including chewing tobacco and smoking
- Excessive alcohol use
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
Studies also have indicated that poor nutrition and oral hygiene may play a role in your risk of oral cancer.
Routine dental exams and oral cancer screenings help identify cancer early when treatment is usually most effective.
How do you screen for oral cancer?
RR Dentistry encourages you to come in for an exam anytime you’re concerned about your oral health or develop an unusual lump, area of irritation, or other abnormality in your mouth, especially if you’re at increased risk for oral cancer.
Otherwise, oral cancer screening usually is part of your routine dental exam at RR Dentistry. During the exam, your provider combines the traditional visible inspection of your oral cavity with advanced VELscope® screening.
The VELscope system includes a hand-held device that emits a bright blue light, which your dentist uses to inspect your mouth, gums, and tongue carefully. Abnormal tissue changes, even those not yet visible, alter the color pattern of the light.
Not every abnormality is linked to oral cancer. However, this extra screening step, which takes just a few minutes, can alert us to worrisome tissue changes early in the disease course. If an abnormality is noted, you may require further diagnostic studies such as a tissue sample (biopsy).
Schedule your routine exam and oral cancer screening today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.
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